A tradition that became popular in international soccer has become a staple of NFL postgames in recent years, but it might not be allowed during the 2020 season.
Swapping jerseys with an opponent is now commonplace in North American professional sports leagues. We often see younger players swap jerseys with veterans who they grew up watching. Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a sought-after player for the postgame jersey swap. Multiple players from the Washington Redskins asked for his No. 12 jersey after a Week 5 game last season.
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Well, unfortunately for NFL players, swapping jerseys could be banned in the upcoming season as the league tries to implement social distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the NFL and NFLPA have not yet agreed on all of the medical protocols for gamedays. NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported the latest information Thursday:
NFL teams will be forbidden from postgame interactions within 6 feet of each other and jersey exchanges between players will be prohibited during the 2020 season, sources say.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 9, 2020
Another way the NFL will look different in the COVID-19 world.
While the joint NFL-NFLPA medical committee has worked together for months to develop various protocols, a union source says the game-day protocols sent to clubs last night -- including the ban on postgame jersey swaps -- have not yet been agreed to. “Still a work in progress.”— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 9, 2020
Players were not pleased with this development, to say the least.
One of the most outspoken players was San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who tweeted the following message. It earned a retweet from Patriots running back James White, among other players.
This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. Players can go engage in a full contact game and do it safely. However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game. 😂🤣😂 https://t.co/fWefsUSVDc— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) July 9, 2020
Many other players were not afraid to share their displeasure with the jersey swap potentially being banned. Here are some of those reactions:
Those 3.5 HOURS of physical, full contact, REVENUE GENERATING player interactions are safe.— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) July 9, 2020
Those 5 MINUTES of post game NON REVENUE GENERATING interactions are not. 🤔
How nonsensical is that? https://t.co/rwRPX79E7W
So we can tackle each other for 60min but can’t exchange jersey that takes 2 mins😂😂😂 https://t.co/5RKq54T0mH— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) July 9, 2020
thats DAMN SILLY bro.. 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/QDOwn2G3bc— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) July 9, 2020
😂😂😂😂 Cmon man. I know I just TACKLED you 3 mins ago but I’m gonna have to mail you my jersey. https://t.co/UiCFLoewiT— Darius Butler (@DariusJButler) July 9, 2020
With opposition so strong and coming from several of the league's stars, it'll be interesting to see if the league eventually eases up and allows jersey swaps to happen as normal next season.